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UKFT launches new projects to support future talent

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) is launching two new initiatives to help support future talent in the industry, as part of its mission to promote the growth of the entire supply chain across the UK.

The projects aim to promote the “wealth of opportunities to young people” of either working with or within a UK manufacturer, as the UKFT states there are currently thousands of job vacancies in the UK fashion and textile manufacturing sector.

UKFT Chairman Nigel Lugg said in a statement: “Our UK manufacturers work with some of the best-known luxury companies around the world including names such as Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada but you can also find UK-made product in many high street stores. We make textiles that are used by Rolls Royce and that are up in the International Space Station, dresses for Ralph and Russo, jumpers for Chanel, jeans for Belstaff and suitcases that are used by James Bond.

“However, in order to maximise this opportunity, we all need to be encouraging a new generation of people to join our industry and to give our designers of tomorrow the knowledge of what’s on their doorstep and how working with local manufacturers can deliver huge benefits.”

The first project is ‘Made It’, a campaign to promote a better understanding of sourcing, production and the benefits of UK manufacturing to the next generation of buyers, designers and entrepreneurs.

‘Made It’ aims to ensure that the UK’s creative talent of the future have the right skills to work with what it calls the “flourishing manufacturing industry” here in the UK, and will see the UKFT working with five universities a year for the next three years to help students get a better understanding of the manufacturing environment and how, when they leave university and enter the industry, that they can help our manufacturing sector thrive.

The UKFT will host masterclasses to second and third year students at the chosen universities and will also offer five students a year a paid, term-long placement, at a UK manufacturer.

UKFT targets future fashion and textile talent with new initiatives

The second is an initiative to help address what it calls “one of the major barriers to growth faced by UK manufacturers” - attracting new talent into the entire supply chain.

“There are currently thousands of job vacancies in the UK fashion and textile manufacturing sector,” explains UKFT chief executive Adam Mansell. “While there are several reasons for this, the absolute key is that so many people don’t know that there is still a manufacturing industry here in the UK with a huge range of fantastic jobs available.”

Mansell, added: “Right now around 120,000 people are employed in the UK manufacturing industry and collectively they produce over 9 billion pounds of fashion and textiles every year.”

In order to start to change perceptions, UKFT has developed the ‘UKFT Pop-up Factory and Careers Showcase’ that will run at 30 major careers events over the next three years. This event will hopefully target more than 150,000 people and will allow young people to have a go at making things, to talk to local employers about job opportunities and to find out about the new apprenticeships that are available for the sector.

The two projects have been made possible through support from the Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers Company and CapitB.

Image: courtesy of UKFT

UK Fashion and Textile Association